Expensive official sponsorship of last summer’s Sydney Olympics may actually have been a waste of money, according to a new study by CIA Medialab.

The report found that consumers could not distinguish between the official brands, which collectively spent £520 million on sponsorship, and their unofficial competitors which successfully “hi-jacked” the games.

Although 80% of the 500-strong sample had watched the Games on TV, only half could name one of the official sponsors. Respondents also had trouble in distinguishing between official and unofficial brands. A paltry 6% knew that Visa sponsored the Games and the same percentage wrongly thought that American Express also did.

Similarly, 32% incorrectly believed Adidas was a sponsor, a higher recognition rating than the 30% who recognised Nike as an official brand. Adidas supplied kit to the British team, spending only a fraction of the $12.5m Nike paid for official status.

Only McDonald’s (which spent $40m on sponsorship) could draw some satisfaction from the survey, with 17% of respondents correctly identifing it as official.

The findings seem to confirm those of the Chartered Institute of Marketing in September [WAMN: 12-Sep-00].

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)